Reserve Deputy James L. Epp

Reserve Deputy James L. Epp

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Arizona

End of Watch Wednesday, March 1, 1978

James L. Epp

Reserve Deputy James Epp drowned while attempting to save two women trapped in a car when a river flooded onto a road.

Deputy Epp and a civilian who were trying to help were swept away by the river as they attempted to attach a chain to the car. His body was found one mile downstream. The civilian survived.

Deputy Epp had served with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office for nearly 20 years and was awarded the Arizona Medal of Valor posthumously in May 1978. He volunteered with MCSO for nearly 20 years prior to his death. He is survived by his wife and child.


  • Age 42
  • Tour 19 years, 9 months
  • Badge Jeep 616

Incident Details

  • Cause Drowned

Most Recent Reflection

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I am one of the two women that Reserve Deputy Epp lost his life on March 1, 1978 in attempting to save me and the life of my friend. Not one day goes by that I don't pray for Deputy Epp and the civilian who saved our lives. I remember speaking to his wife that night to apologize and sending deepest condolences to her and her daughter. I remember how gracious she was in explaining that her husband died what he loved doing and that there was no fault; she understood flash floods. I am in contact with the civilian 40 yrs later to express my gratefulness and to recognize the ultimate sacrifice they both made that night. I will continue to pray for the rest of my life for both men for their courage and bravery. Thank you, Deputy Jim Epp.

victim of flood

March 3, 2018

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